• Can Making Rum be Sustainable? Serrallés thinks so!

    Rum production produces rather nasty wastewater which needs to be disposed of some how. The Serrallés Rum Distillery in Ponce, Puerto Rico produces DonQ, its main brand of rum, which is the most popular rum in Puerto Rico. It is one of the largest rum distilleries in the Caribbean with an annual output capacity of 15 million proof gallons. The company has spent a decade and $16 million on a new filtration system. Serrallés used to dump its wastewater into nearby fields, but during rainy season the waste would run off and the distillery would have to shut down when flooding starting which cost the company $200,000 a year. A Fast Company article claims that Serrallés has turned the "$75 million distillery into one of the cleanest in the world." >> Read the Full Article
  • Indonesia aims to lead in Sustainable Forestry

    Indonesia "has reversed course" from a forest policy that drove deforestation in previous decades and is poised to become a leader in "sustainable forestry", asserted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during a speech on Wednesday at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in Bogor. "Our forestry policy [in the 1970s and 1980s] was to allow anyone to cut our forests so long as it gave benefits to development," he said. "It seemed the logical thing to do back then. We had lots of forests; we had to reduce poverty; we needed to grow our economy. As a result, there was a time when we experienced very serious deforestation." "Today, such a policy is no longer tenable. Losing our tropical rain forests would constitute the ultimate national, global and planetary disaster. That’s why Indonesia has reversed course by committing to sustainable forestry." >> Read the Full Article
  • Organic Hops for Organic Beer

    Government doesn't usually get credit when it does things right, so I'd like to share a looming success story you should keep your eye on. The government has actually created a marketplace for organic hops where one did not exist before. Their actions benefited consumers, farmers, the environment, and brewers like myself. Until the USDA stepped in, only a few varieties of organic hops from Europe and New Zealand were available in the US to brew organic beers. Now that the domestic (and international) organic hop market has developed, beginning January 1, 2013, the USDA phases out their exemption so that brewers who use the USDA Organic Logo must use 100 percent organic hops. Today, if certain hops are not available commercially, a brewer either needs to use whatever is available, or use the exemption to use non-organic hops in an organic-labeled-beer. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Global forum to collate research on sustainable consumption, production

    A new global forum, meeting for the first time this week (13–15 June), will gather scattered research on sustainable consumption and production from countries across the world, as well as from journals, reports and grey literature, to consolidate existing findings and discuss the agenda for future research. The Global Research Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production also hopes to forge new research partnerships to help tackle difficult issues relating to consumption and production. "There's a lot of science, technology and innovation to be researched on sustainable production and consumption," said Philip Vergragt, professor emeritus of technology assessment at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. >> Read the Full Article
  • How do you like your craft beer, in bottles or cans?

    Cans are now becoming ubiquitous in the craft beer market, from the aisles of upscale grocery stores to the lakes and rivers of summer recreation. At the latest count, CraftCans.com lists 184 breweries offering 556 canned craft beers. Happily, this can craze is more than just a trendy packaging choice, it’s also good for beer. Some of the most prominent craft breweries, like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, have embraced cans, while others, like Lagunitas, have pledged a commitment to remain only in bottles. For consumers, it can seem like a lot of extra controversy in what should be a simple decision about what to drink. The truth is that it’s a complex issue with many layers, and the correct choice will largely be determined by personal priorities. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Warming over last 50 yrs caused primarily by human activity

    The oceans have warmed in the past 50 years, but not by natural events alone. New research by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and international collaborators shows that the observed ocean warming over the last 50 years is consistent with climate models only if the models include the impacts of observed increases in greenhouse gas during the 20th century. Though the new research is not the first study to identify a human influence on observed ocean warming, it is the first to provide an in-depth examination of how observational and modeling uncertainties impact the conclusion that humans are primarily responsible. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chevy Volt gets more EV-range

    The all-electric vehicle range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles on a single charge, providing owners with a three-mile EV range increase from the 2012 model. The miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) will increase from 94 miles to 98 miles and the total range, including extended range operation, will be 380 miles. Based on real-world experience by Volt owners since the vehicle launched in late 2010, engineers made minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry, resulting in improved performance and durability. Manganese spinel chemistry remains the foundation for the Volt's battery system, but the amount of each material has been slightly modified to provide better life performance. >> Read the Full Article
  • Increase in Groundwater Use and Sea-Level Rise

    As aquifers are pumped out around the world, the water ultimately makes it to the oceans. Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say. That's because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it's used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean. To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a Ph.D. researcher at Utrecht University, divided the Earth's land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage. >> Read the Full Article
  • Open Ocean protection and Rio+20

    Promises made at previous summits have not delivered enough protection for the oceans — campaigners are pushing for better results from Rio+20, writes Prime Sarmiento. This month, scientists, campaigners and many developing nations are optimistic they will set in motion a deal on the conservation of the high seas at Rio+20 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development) in Brazil. They argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), agreed 30 years ago, does not address the welfare of the vast areas of ocean that are 'beyond national jurisdiction'. >> Read the Full Article
  • Atrazine to be Banned? Frogs will be happy!

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will weigh a ban on Atrazine, a widely used herbicide linked to sex reversal and other reproductive problems in amphibians and fish. The chemical, which is manufactured by Syngenta, has been banned in the European Union since 2004 but some 80 million pounds Atrazine are applied to corn, sugarcane, sorghum and rice in the United States each year. Environmentalists say the effects of Atrazine on wildlife make its use unacceptable and are pushing the EPA to ban the chemical. The agency will be holding a Scientific Advisory Panel public meeting June 12th to discuss the ecological risks of Atrazine. Save The Frogs, a group that works to protect amphibians, welcomed the move. >> Read the Full Article